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Bullpen Shines as Golden Bears Top Keene State with Late Rally, 6-3

Bullpen Shines as Golden Bears Top Keene State with Late Rally, 6-3
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 18, 2016) - Led by a shutdown effort from its bullpen, the Western New England University baseball team rallied from a late one-run deficit to secure a 6-3 victory over Keene State College this afternoon in non-conference action at Trelease Park.
With the win, Western New England improves to 20-5 (7-1 CCC) this season, while Keene State drops to 11-14 (2-4 LEC) with the setback.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, freshman Alex Loparco (Riverside, Conn.) worked a leadoff walk before advancing to third on classmate Erik Lacaire's (Worcester, Mass.) single up the middle, and eventually crossing the plate with the game-tying run on senior shortstop Kevin Marciano's (Pepperell, Mass.) sacrifice fly.
Loparco came through again in the eighth, driving in the go-ahead run with a clutch, two-out double down the left field line after senior Bryan Previte (Darien, Conn.) had led off with a walk and pinch-runner Brett Morgan (Norwell, Mass.) stole second base to get into scoring position.
The Golden Bears were able to tack on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth, as Lacaire followed Loparco with an RBI single, before stealing second and coming in to score on a wild pitch.
Western New England had its way on the base paths all game, swiping a season-high six bags, three of which helped lead to runs.
Lacaire and Marciano recorded two hits each out of the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the batting order, respectively, while Loparco added a 2-for-3 effort with two runs scored from the 9-hole.
Sophomore righthander Jake Kawiecki (Burlington, Conn.) got the start for the Golden Bears and logged 3.1 innings on the mound, striking out five batters and allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits.
Western New England's bullpen turned in one of its finest performances of the season, as four relief pitchers combined to shut the Owls out over the final 5.2 frames to make the late rally possible.
Freshman Jeremy Morris (Montrose, N.Y.) came on for Kawiecki in the fourth and retired five batters while allowing just one hit, and senior outfielder Scott Hubener (Mendon, Mass.) followed with a scoreless sixth inning in his first career pitching appearance.
Junior Matt Thomas (Plainville, Conn.) worked around a pair of singles to get out of the seventh unscathed, and classmate Jacques Boilard (Brimfield, Mass.) finished the job, earning the win after recording the final six outs of the contest.
Sophomore Christian Bourgea (Litchfield, N.H.) led the Keene State offense with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate, while senior Billy Hartmann (Greenland, N.H.) added two hits and junior Trevor Chapin (Northfield, N.H.) reached base three times with a double and two walks.
The Owls scored all three of their runs in the first inning, using an RBI double by Chapin and an RBI single by senior Vinny Parilla (Londonderry, N.H.), combined with a costly Western New England error in the outfield, to claim an early lead.
The Golden Bears got two runs back in the bottom of the second, however, as RBI singles by freshman Ben LaCroix (Branford, Conn.) and sophomore Steve Rivela (Hudson, Mass.) cut the home team's deficit to one.
Western New England will be right back in action tomorrow night with a non-conference contest at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., while Keene State returns home to host Plymouth State tomorrow afternoon.